DONETSK, September 5 (RIA Novosti) – A group of east Ukraine independence supporters driving armored vehicles entered the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol Friday, a militia source told RIA Novosti.
“Our group entered the districts of Talakovka and Sartana. They are a bit away from the Vostochny district, where self-defense forces clashed with Kiev troops, so our group met no resistance while entering Mariupol,” the source said.
The clashes between the Ukrainian forces and independence supporters have been ongoing since mid-April, when Kiev launched a military operation against southeastern regions of Ukraine after independence supporters refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the new government following the February 22 coup.
The meeting of the contact group on Ukrainian reconciliation, comprising Russia, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ukrainian authorities and eastern Ukraine’s independence supporters, is taking place in Minsk on Friday.
The last meeting of the contact group took place in the Belarusian capital on September 1.
Representatives from the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics said during the meeting that if the republics received certain legislative guarantees of their special statuses, they would ensure their support in maintaining the single economic, cultural and political space of Ukraine and Russian-Ukrainian culture.